Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree…

…At the Christmas party hop! Thursday night saw in the Shipleys’ annual Christmas party. After having just given out the Secret Santa gifts, and having a tipple (or two) whilst getting ready for the night ahead, both the London & Godalming office arrived at Simpsons-in-the-Strand for an evening of laughing, dancing and celebrating all the successes and hard work undertaken throughout 2016.

We had a delightful three-course meal and each member of staff had their own designated seat, where we were all mixed up with different departments – a great way to get to know different members of staff across the two offices, who we may not necessarily have been able to speak to in the general working day.

Our Managing Principal, Simon Robinson, discussed the year’s events along with our successful merger with Smith Pearman, finally raising a glass to the New Year ahead and to what 2017 will bring, before opening up the dancefloor.

We also met one of our new graduate intakes, who will be starting in January and it was lovely to see them really enjoying the Christmas party, and getting to know all the staff they will be working with in the coming year. Lara and I remember being in the same position last year and how nice it was to be welcomed straight away by our future colleagues and we had a blast at the 2015 Christmas do.

Along with lots of chatting and dancing, we took loads of photos throughout the evening and here is one of them featuring myself, Eugene and Lara.

shenai-eugene-lara-christmas-party-2016

Just a few more days left of the working year, but everyone is in high spirits and we are all looking forward to a well-deserved Christmas break!

Now I think it’s just about time to say a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all our readers.

 

Personal Development

It has been an extraordinarily fast-paced couple of months. Never have I ever felt the time fly so fast!

Since my last post, I have been involved in even more audits within the film & television industry. For the first time I feel at ease when approaching audit work and feel that my confidence has grown and grown. I strongly believe that this is down to a combination of experience (practice makes perfect!) by being exposed to more and more audits in short spaces of time and by working alongside approachable, supportive and encouraging colleagues. You really get the feeling of a team spirit here at Shipleys.

Aside from film audits, I have worked on several large funds. Again, I have found that the more exposure I have to these types of clients, the more confident I feel when approaching the required working papers. Don’t get me wrong through, there is still (and always will be) lots more to learn, especially with ever changing regulations and updating of accounting standards – but I guess that’s the exciting part, because as an accountant you are always growing in your career and developing your knowledge and expertise.

Audits aside, I have recently undertaken lots more accounts preps. These have ranged from sole traders to limited companies. If I am completely honest I initially felt a little apprehensive tackling these tasks (due to having worked predominantly on audits), but I would just like to emphasise how valuable the time that Seniors, Supervisors, Managers and Partners are willing to set aside in their own busy workday for trainees. In one specific instance, my Manager took the time to run through how I should approach each section of the working papers (from fixed assets through to sales and purchases). He also explained exactly what I should be looking out for when inspecting the client’s nominal ledger and post-year end ledger, and explained the kind of journals I would potentially need to put through. At the end of the two weeks (and five accounts preps later), I had learnt so much. I also noted parts of the tasks that I found the trickiest, along with the Manager’s tips on how to approach these sections and have typed these up to use as a guide on future accounts preparation jobs.

I would say that I am definitely lucky to work at a firm like Shipleys. Not only are you encouraged and given many opportunities to be responsible for major parts of a job, but there is always support and guidance from those higher up at the firm. All are happy to invest their own time in making sure a trainee (like myself) understands and feels confident in approaching the work set – something I would consider extremely vital for a trainee’s personal development.

Stepping into summer!

Well it’s been about six weeks since my last post and I feel like I’ve been busier than ever – both in my work and social life!

I’ve attended another three weeks of college for the first three modules of the professional level: for Financial Accounting (FAR), Audit & Assurance (AA) & Tax Compliance (TC) and will be back again in mid-July to learn the rest of the content. It’s definitely a “step-up” from the E-Assessments. There’s tons more knowledge to learn and longer questions to complete, which means I’ll definitely be increasing my revision and compiling a study timetable. I’ve noticed that I tend to be a lot more productive if I study as soon as it’s the end of the working day. I live quite far from the office so it ends up working out better because it’s lovely and quiet which means I can focus for a few hours, then at least when I leave the office I actually get a seat on the train! Nevertheless, this doesn’t work for everyone, I know that a lot of my colleagues prefer to study in the comfort of their own home, and don’t get me wrong there are some days when I just prefer that too, but the key is really to do whatever suits you best.

Putting college to one side, in the office, I’ve been working mostly on the accounts for various films and TV series, which I always find exciting, especially when you see an advert for the film or watch the TV series after having worked on them. I’ve been attending a few more audits, one of which was at a film studio and the other at a place where I felt like I was stepping into Hogwarts!

Outside of working and studying, I’ve been on to two hen dos, caught up with university friends and re-joined the tennis club I used to be a member of when I was at secondary school. It’s nice to be feeling more active and to get back into the sport I used to love, just in time for Wimbledon to start up again – strawberries and cream at the ready! Then this Saturday I will be taking part in the “Pretty Muddy” Race for Life for Cancer Research UK, which is very dear to my heart. I’ve taken part in the Race for Life event before and last time the atmosphere was incredible. I’m sure it will be a brilliant day, and if it is to rain like it has been for the last two days, it will only help with making the race even muddier!

This week I was back in the office and I can see from the staff planner that I have a few different audit jobs lined up, then in a couple of weeks I have my six monthly review and the next chapter begins…

My Shipleys experience

Wow a lot has happened in the last four months! Beginning my training contract at Shipleys in January 2016 was so exciting. I’d had a wonderful Christmas with my family, I’d also been on holiday with friends and saw the New Year in with a “Cheers”, champagne & celebrations. It was the best time of the year for a new job – as they say, “a new year…a new start”.

Having graduated in the summer of 2014, I’d had about 18 months out of studying (and I was starting to miss it!), so I couldn’t wait to get back into the swing of things. And definitely did I get stuck in – on my very first day I went straight to college at Kaplan to begin the first two modules of the ACA – Accounting and Assurance.

I found the first few days at Kaplan to be quite intense and fast-paced, nevertheless, it’s surprising how quickly you are able to pick up new topics and as long as you keep up-to-date with all the homework you feel a lot more confident when the revision period starts. My top tip would definitely be to attempt all the questions set, follow the study materials and to just dedicate a few hours every night to recap and remind yourself of what you’ve learnt at college that day. This all helps to put you in good stead for the exams, and I found that as long as you put the hours in, the hard work does pay off.

January flew by and with a mixture of SWAT training, accounts preparation and a few audit jobs undertaken in February, by the start of March I’d already completed the Accounting and Assurance E-Assessments. Since then, I’ve been working on a variety of clients from films to television series to charities and investment funds. I undertook my first stocktake and was back at Kaplan at the start of April to study the Principles of Tax module, and by the end of April this third E-Assessment had been completed.

Studying and working can be quite daunting at first, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever had to balance the two, and for me this was the case, so on a Sunday evening I try to plan out the week ahead, just so I know what topics I need to revise, focus on or prioritise, and this is even more important during the run up to exams.

Shipleys is a very supportive firm, right from the junior staff and senior staff to the Managers and Partners. Everyone is always willing to help with any queries you have, whether it be work-related or college-related, and I’ve also found college to be another great support system. By meeting new people of similar ages entering into the same industry as you means that not only do you have the support from your firm, but you also have the support from your peers as everyone is in the same boat, and it’s nice to think that I now have a close knit group of friends at Kaplan.

I would like to stress that working hard is important, but it’s not all work at Shipleys. There are lots of events organised by our social committee. I attended the Christmas party in December 2015 (even though I wasn’t starting my training contract until January, I’d been asked to come to and enjoy the celebrations.) It was a fabulous night in the West End and a good way of meeting my fellow colleagues before the first day in the office. I think this highlights the welcoming and friendly firm that Shipleys is. We’ve also had a curry night, end of month’s drinks and most recently the Quiz Night.

With the variety of work on offer at Shipleys, no two work days are ever the same, and I think this is one of the firm’s strong points and one of the main features that attracted me to Shipleys.

What I’ve found the most fulfilling so far is being able to put what you’ve learnt at college into practice in the workplace. With every day I feel more confident and I look forward to going into the office and seeing what the day will bring.